Books do furnish a room?

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22/10/2021 19:30 - 21:00
St. Mary's Church Hall
Address: Darley Lane, Derby, DE1 3AX

Speaker: Stuart Ian Mitchell

Sir William Boothby, who lived at Ashbourne Hall in Derbyshire in the 1670s and 1680s, was passionate about books.  ‘My books’ he wrote, ‘are the great joy of my life’.  He was not alone in this. But how many books were actually read? And how many were for show? This talk explores some of the ways in which books were perceived as objects of material culture as well as literary texts in the long eighteenth century.  A book owned was not necessarily a book read.  It looks at the way in which access to books might be a marker of respectability and politeness, both through ownership and through book clubs; at book collecting as a type of conspicuous consumption; and at the eccentric, almost obsessive, fringe of book buying – that ‘passion for collecting books; not so much to be instructed by them, as to gratify the eye by looking at them’.  Books were one of the objects that revealed, or perhaps created, important aspects of the taste and socio-cultural status of their owner.

Organised by the Local History Section

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